I stood on the other side of the desk, arms folded across my chest. "Is it true?" I said.
"You sure? You're not lying again?"
"No," Danny said. "It's the truth." He swallowed visibly. "Are you gonna kill me?"
"Yes," said Mouse.
He winced and shrank back in the chair.
I looked at Mouse. "Be nice."
"Fine." She turned to Danny. "No. We're not going to kill you. Maybe hurt you a little--"
"Okay, okay! But he was yankin' our chain! I don't like people yankin' our chain. Makes me want to stab things."
"I was doing what my dad told me," said Danny.
"What, lie?" said Mouse.
"No. To not to tell anyone who we were."
"Why not?" I said.
"So those men wouldn't be able to find us."
"Who are they, Danny?" I said.
"I think they're with the company my dad worked for."
I turned to my phone sitting on the desktop. I had set it down with Eddie still on the line. "Eddie?"
"His dad worked for Hart International Laboratories," said Eddie from the phone's speaker. "Private research firm just outside Fredricksburg."
"What kind of research?" I said.
"Tech and military contracts."
"Vague much?" said Mouse.
"They're off the 'Net," said Eddie. "Unless I go out there, I can't get into any of their systems.
"What about the mom?" I said.
"Died," said Eddie. "Car accident."
"It wasn't an accident," said Danny. "The same men following us killed my mom."
"How do you know?" I said.
Danny looked at me. "Because my dad found her in the basement."
"Shit," Mouse said under her breath.
"What about Aunt Mo?"
Tapping of keys, then: "McGee's sister. Maureen Donovan. Six years older. Widow. Professor of Literature and Media Studies at B.C.U."
I looked at Mouse. "Guess we're going to school today."
She nodded toward Danny. "And him?"
I turned to Revell, seated on the couch behind us. "Mind watching him for a bit?"
"Not a problem," said Revell.
I turned back to the phone. "Call you back, Eddie."
Hung up, then dialed a number.
Mouse gave me a questioning look.
"Getting another set of eyes," I said.
Jake Steele answered on the second ring. "Kat."
The sound of his voice made the butterflies in my stomach go nuts. I gritted my teeth. "I need a hand."
The way he said it made my throat go dry. I licked my lips, forcing moisture back in my mouth. "Got a client who needs watching for a couple of hours while Mouse and I check out a lead. Can you and Mikey spare some time?"
"Usual rate," he said. "And it'll just be me. Mikey's helping Val with a meet."
"That's fine," I said. "Revell's watching him, too."
"What's the other side look like?"
"My favorite kind. There in ten."
I hung up and realized I'd been holding my breath. I exhaled.
"You're leaving?" said Danny. "Can't I go with you guys?"
"Be safer here," I said. "We'll come back with your aunt."
* * *
In the hallway outside the office, Mouse said, "Guess you and Jake'll get some practice?"
"What?" I said.
"For when you two have little ronin of your own."
"I'm not listening to this."
"Mama Kat. Doesn't that sound maternal?"
"Don't make me hurt you."
She gave a hearty cackle and went out the back door.
(to be continued...)